Clean sound; bi-amplified; independently powered; Kevlar woofers and silk tweeters produce beautiful sound.
Expensive. We could use a bit more bass.
The primary benefit of near-field studio monitors like KRK’s VXT 4s is that they don’t interact with the room. And that’s exactly what you need if you’re mixing down tracks in a sonically challenged environment such as a home recording studio, which probably doubles as your bedroom, living room, or garage.
But most desktop speakers are designed for near-field listening, so what makes the VXT 4s worthy of their $300 (each) street price? They’re bi-amplified, for one thing, meaning the woofers and tweeters are powered by their own amplifiers, with 15 watts dedicated to the production of high frequencies and 30 watts to the lows. And unlike most other powered speaker systems, in which one amp provides the power for the entire system, each VXT 4 has it own amp inside its cabinet. This gives you the flexibility of starting out with a stereo mix station today and expanding it into a surround-sound rig down the road.
The VXT 4s are the smallest speakers in the VXT line and draw their name from their 4-inch Kevlar woofers. Kevlar’s strength and light weight—the same material is used to manufacture bullet-proof vests—helps the cones resist movement after they’ve been initially stimulated by the amplifier. These are augmented by 1-inch dome tweeters woven from pure silk.
In an effort to reduce cabinet resonance, KRK fabricates its cabinets out of ABS structural foam, instead of the more common medium-density fiberboard (MDF). The base of each cabinet is padded to further isolate it from whatever surface it might be resting on, and there are threaded mounts on the bottom in case you’d like to mount the speakers on a wall or a tripod.
Listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Say What!” (from Soul to Soul), we dug how clean the music sounded, but we found ourselves wishing for just a bit more bass. The VXT 4s produce an amazingly tight bottom considering their tiny woofers, but anyone using them for final mixes will want to be careful not to overdo it.